Ham Radio Deluxe and the FT-736R
The Yaesu FT-736R is a legendary radio in amateur satellite circles. One problem, however, has been its inability to work with the wonderful Ham Radio Deluxe software. The 736 has an early implementation of the CAT interface, and unfortunately the only items that can be queried from the 736 thru the CAT interface are the squelch condition and the S Meter value. Ham radio deluxe is built on a model that requires much more to be read from the radio, so it seems they are incompatible. Until NOW!
This project started in the summer of 2010. My idea was to write some software that would appear to HRD as a radio. I surveyed all of the radios supported by HRD and found the FT-847 to be the best candidate in terms of compatibility and functionality. My software fakes out HRD into thinking it is talking to an FT-847, hence the term “emulator”. I then take all of the information stored in registers in my virtual FT-847 in my software and use them to control the 736. The effort worked perfectly, and I released a Youtube video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7H98FBQZJ_A.
This software was not meant to be a final implementation, rather it was a proof of concept that the idea would work. My intention was to eventually get around to doing the same thing in hardware. The Windows software implementation needs three serial ports to work, or a serial port emulator and 1 “real” serial port. The hardware approach would just be a simple small box between the computer running HRD and the 736.
In my Youtube video, I mentioned the hardware approach and my willingness to work with others to make it happen. In the spirit of true ham radio collaboration, one fine fellow took up the challenge, Chuck N6BIL. I sent him my software and described what I did and gave him some data, and he ran with it. He has duplicated my windows approach in the hardware implementation I had envisioned. He made his own Youtube video showing his results at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8I17jarXMw.
Originally, I had decided not to release my windows software. I considered it merely a tool for producing the hardware version. The software is not pretty and polished. I have gotten so many requests for it, that I will make it available here, but the price is absolutely no support since this is free. I will give a brief description that I gave to Chuck on how to set it up and that is all.
Information on Chuck’s hardware version will appear here as well. The schematic and board files, as well as software will be available for download.
Somebody has taken the effort of Chuck and myself and now offers a complete ready to use package. See the link below
Feel free to leave comments on the Youtube sites.
Information on my Software version can be found here.
Information on Chucks Hardware version can be found here.
A fully built and tested product is now available from Dave Norris, KG9AE. See his product page at http://www.hamspot.com/products/33-prod-hs-736usb
73 Dave KA6BFB